Efforts to increase public art could have a positive economic effect on the city of Columbus. That was one of the key messages at the annual Columbus Area Arts Council Meeting on Wednesday.
Leisel Fenner is the Public Art Program Manager at Americans for the Arts in Washington, D.C. and she delivered the keynote address. Fenner says the benefits Columbus receives from publically financed art reach beyond aesthetics.
“It has a foundation of architectural landmarks that could absolutely serve as the launching point for many, many more art works that could be temporary or permanent. I see this as expanding Columbus as a destination for tourists or visitors,” Fenner says.
The Arts Council’s Board of Directors called 2011 one of the most dynamic years in the history of the Arts Council. Last year the Arts Council hosted a variety of events like the Open Iron Pour, which included sculpture exhibits by local artists, and the Very Special Arts Festival—an event that provided hands-on activities for young arts students.
But Arts Council Executive Director Karen Shrode says highlighting the achievements over the last year wasn’t the only purpose of the meeting.
“Not only is this a way to recognize what we do in the community, it’s a way to acknowledge all of our supporters. Because without them we wouldn’t be here, and we couldn’t sustain the activities that we do,” Shrode says.
The Columbus Area Arts Council is the Region Nine partner of the Indiana Arts Commission, which represents Bartholomew County and several surrounding counties. Last year the Council provided about $73,000 in state funds to 14 arts organizations within its region.